This Jharkhand health worker puts her life in danger to vaccinate kids in Maoist hotbed


Express News Service

RANCHI: Manti Kumari, a contractual auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), carries one and a half-year-old daughter on her back along with a vaccine box on her shoulder and crosses river on foot to carry out immunization programme for young children in Mahuadanr Block of Latehar in Jharkhand.

Manti, posted at Chetma health sub-centre, has to cover eight villages for which she has to travel a distance up to 35 kilometers in dense forests and cross a river to reach out to the children.

When caught on camera, Manti said that it’s nothing new for her as she has been doing it for more than one year now after she resumed work after three months of maternity leave. 

“As some of the villages which I am supposed to cover are located at faraway places with rivers on its way, there is no choice but to cross it. Though these rivers are not very deep, there always are chances of getting carried away along with the stream during the rainy season,” said Manti Kumari. Sometimes
when the level of water increases, I have to skip that village till the water recedes,” she added.

“Generally, I cross the river till water level is up to the waist level so that I can cross it safely,” said Manti. She has to travel about 25 km every day from Mahuadanr, where she lives with her husband, to the Chetma Health Centre she is attached with.

All this hard work is done six days a week — travelling nearly 40 km every day through jungles, only to feed her child and husband Sunil Oraon who lost his job due to the lockdown. But she ensures that other families and their children stay safe in the remotest villages of Maoist hotbed where availability of medical
treatment is still a challenge for the Government.

She has to cross river Burra at three different places in order to reach Tisiya, Goira, and Sugabandh villages. “I have to visit each of these three villages at least once every month by crossing the river, besides the villages which could be reached only by walking through dense forests,” said Manti, who got the job in January 2020. Her husband accompanies her up to a part of her daily journey since public transport is not available these days due to the lockdown, but the rest of the journey is completed by her, that too with her daughter on the back, she added.

Medical Officer at Chetma health sub-centre Amit Khalkho also asserted that the region is full of tough terrains and crossing rivers and dense forests are the daily routine of health workers to reach remote villages in Mahuadanr. “But, as she travels the entire distance along with her 1.5-year-old daughter on the back regularly is really commendable,” said the doctor.

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